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Jonas Dostert
the Obermosel comes of age

{”Jonas Dostert is one of the finest and most exciting talents we have 'discovered' in our now 12-year tenure at Mosel Fine Wines."}
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I will say this, and I do not write this lightly: As with the MFW quote above, for me what Jonas Dostert is doing in the Obermosel is one of the most thrilling and provocative developments in German wine in many years. The feeling I have when I taste these wines is something akin to my feeling in 2009, first tasting the wines of Florian Lauer: some combination of confusion, wonder, awe.

This is not to say the wines of Dostert are similar to the wines of Lauer. They are not, at all. But in 2009, tasting the curious, natural balance of Lauer's wines, it was something of a slap upside the head. I had simply never tasted anything like it before.

And this is the similarity with Dostert’s wines: they also seem to come from a completely new, uncharted place.

This email represents two years' worth of work. We first tasted with Dostert in his cold cellar in the Obermosel in 2019, and we basically told him on the spot we'd take what we could get. Yet it's only today that we see the first few cases entering the U.S.

Before I continue, I feel I should make two things very clear. First: I am obsessed with these wines. They are delicate, razor-sharp, extreme and bracing. They feel like they are chiseled directly from a glacier; they are essential, elemental, mineral. We have only a few of these 3-packs available, and they represent a tour-de-force of what the Obermosel and its Kimmeridgian limestone can shape, from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay to an Elbling blend.

If you are interested, let us know quickly.

However, I have to also make clear that these are extreme wines; they will not be for everyone. The last time my teeth throbbed as much as they did after tasting Dostert’s 2019 collection was after tasting with Erich Weber at Hofgut Falkenstein in maybe 2008? The acidity in these wines is incisive, bracing, saturating. But for those of you who crave the mineral austerity of the wines of de Moor, or Stefan Vetter, you will love these wines. This is admittedly pure conjecture, as I wasn't tasting Chablis on release in the 1980s, but Dostert's wines suggest to me what a great Chablis from Raveneau or Dauvissat, from a solid but not too-ripe vintage in the 1980s, might have tasted like on release: stony, raw, primal. There is something about the compact scale of these wines that suggests the cold north.

But to be more exact, Dostert's wines, for me, represent something of a bridge from the Saar to Burgundy.

This is a lot to wrap one's head around, I understand, but stick with me. As with the best Saar wines, Dostert's bottles have a rawness. The great, mid-twentieth century importer Frank Schoonmaker famously described Saar wines as “indescribable: austerity coupled with delicacy and extreme finesse… an attractive hardness.”

Dostert’s wines flaunt these traits. Drinking directly from a mountain stream is thrilling, but it might hurt too. Things so essential, so distilled, are simply not for everyone.

From the experience and practices of Burgundy the wines receive a most sensitive and delicate élevage. It is subtle, to be sure, but the use of neutral barrels on these wines, the gentle oxidation, is simply masterful. The blend of this raw essential quality, with a tapered finesse reminiscent of Burgundy, I find just heartbreaking.

It’s both trite and instructive, I think, to point out that Dostert did spend some time in Burgundy, mostly in the cellars of Leflaive working with the barrels (indeed this is where he gets most of his barrels). It’s trite because pointing out something like this seems to imply a very simplistic recipe: “Go to Burgundy, work with Leflaive for a few months and voilà you can make Leflaive!” Clearly this idea is inane and insulting. These wines have little to no obvious relationship with Leflaive’s wines.

But pointing out this Burgundian perspective is instructive, I think, because as Dostert has told me over and over again, growing up in the Obermosel was a confusing affair. This is essentially a forgotten place, seemingly without a present moment or a history. (I have written extensively about the Obermosel, this limestone-riddled region tucked between the Mosel and Luxembourg. If you are interested in reading more about this place, albeit through the history of the Hild estate, click here.)

While the Obermosel is only minutes, a few kilometers away from the Mosel, from the Saar, it has nothing in common with these more famous places. The Mosel and the Saar are a landscape of slate and a temple to Riesling. The Obermosel is the final, profound crescendo of Kimmeridgian limestone as it pours through France and runs into this wall of slate. The Obermosel, because of this limestone, is a culture based on an ancient grape Elbling, and more and more on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the other Burgundian varieties.

The deep, deep potential here is obvious to anyone who can stand still long enough to really look at the place. I do not know exactly what the promise of this very special place holds, though I am fairly confident that Jonas Dostert will prove to be one of the more important voices in articulating this greatness. And with his 2019 collection, I believe it’s already arriving.

In fact, it has arrived. These wines are stateside and will be made available for shipping later this month. To order, simply click here. For our notes on the wines as well as commentary from Mosel Fine Wines, see below, and thank you.

Jonas Dostert 2019 3-Pack
Each pack includes one bottle of the following.

2019 Dostert "Pure Limestone"
This is a blend of 50% Chardonnay with 50% Elbling, and to some extent, this is what the wine tastes like. It has the stoney, essential quality, the punch of Elbling with a bit more of the glossy, quinine-like fruit of Chardonnay – a bit, but not much, of the curves of Chardonnay. It does have an elegance that the sharper edges of the Elbling miss. It is profoundly mineral and does have more than a subtle hint of “pure limestone.”

2019 Dostert Chardonnay
Awash with green tones, from crushed mint to green apple skins, tons of citrus, this is a lean and taut Chardonnay. It is profoundly clean on the palate, both searing and seductive, compact and faceted like all of Dostert’s wines. The élevage is again brilliantly done, providing just a bit more expansive softness to a wine that would otherwise be almost too ruthless. This is so primal and elegant and fine, so raw and cooling and of the earth.

2019 Dostert Pinot Noir
The Pinot is compact and ultra-dense; dark red and black fruit, tons of spice and saturation. It is very, very inward looking, though pristine and transparent and very delicate – only 11.5%. A brilliant wine but it will need some time to unfurl. Mosel Fine Wine write: "...This deep red-blue colored wine offers a stunningly fruity nose of strawberry, raspberry, herbs, and spices. The wine is packed with gorgeously sweet fruits on the palate where spices play second role. The finish is silky, fruity, smooth, and incredibly long. Despite its lightness (the wine does only have 11.5% of alcohol), the wine’s precision, purity, and depth are simply superb. While enjoyable now, this wine will truly blossom after some bottle aging. What a huge success!"

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